Some time ago i got this very nice pair of Alchemy V2 soft carbon fins, mounted on Sporasub footpocket.
The blades were kindly sponsored by Deep Magazine, a cool spearfishing and freediving magazine.
The look of the fins is great. They look shiny in the front and mat on the back and the white railings make them look just like an expensive toy.
The finishing on the front make them resistant to scratches, but unfortunately the back is easier to scratch. I was very careful with them (as i don’t like old looking equipment), until the day we went freediving through a very narrow cave, and now there are a few white marks on the back.
The layering of the carbon is quite interesting and very obvious when you look at the back of the blade. In the picture below you can see that clearly. I don’t have the technical knowledge to know how it changes the blade’s behavior but i sure know it looks very cool!
They feel soft and very easy to kick. I always had a preference for soft fins, since I tend to get lazy knees and bend them too much (for some reason it has to do with my not super flexible lower back). When I started using these fins I was used to my stiffer C4 mustang 3 stiffness 40 (the hardest ones), which i had used regularly for over 1 year, so when i switched fins I had the feeling that I had to kick many times before getting close to my neutral buoyancy (10-11m). I also felt that it took quite a lot of energy, but as soon as I started using them regularly I got quickly adjusted to them.
With both my winter and summer set up i’m neutral at 10/11 meters (5mm wetsuit + 3kg, and 3mm wetsuit + 2 kg); i need 20 kicks to get to 20 meters and freefall from there. The deepest dive i did with these fins is 57 meters in 2.10.
Because the blade is soft I don’t feel so much resistance and strain on my feet, and consequently my knees are not bending as much as they do with stiffer fins.
Did you ever hear a freediver say: “it feels like having noodles attached to my feet!” or “these fins feel like paper”? That’s not a good thing, because it means that the blade is so soft that as soon as it meets some resistance (water) it bends and therefore it doesn’t give any propulsion. Coming up from a 30+ meter dive with fins like these is very hard, since the diver is quite negative and the little propulsion he gets makes him ascend very slowly no matter the frequency of the finning cycle (and usually the fastest the worst).
I had this feeling a few times with other fins, but that is not the impression I have when I dive with the V2 in the 40/45 meters range. The ascents doesn’t feel hard on my legs as with stiffer fins and I don’t need to do many more kicks (only about 5 more from 40 meter). On the deeper dives though (50+ meters) i start having the feeling that the blades are too soft and that i’m too heavy for them in the deepest part of the ascent. So, for dives deeper than 60 i would use a stiffer pair (for example my Alchemy V2HS medium-soft).
Also, i feel that the best way to kick the blades is with slow steady kicks. If i try to hurry up and kick them hard i feel that the blade bends too early too close to the foot and is unable to “catch water”.
PROS: In my opinion these fins are ideal for easy dives with many repetitions since they are very easy on the legs, and absolutely great for surface swimming.
CONS: Too soft for deep dives (60+) and not suited for deep safety, as rescuing double (and often more) my body weight from 20+ meters would make them completely inefficient.
For more technical info about these blades, check the manufacturer description
Check the V2 blades on this short video of me freediving to 20 meters.